Action ► Astringent and cathartic (anthraquinones are laxative and tannins astringent), stomachic, aperient, cholinergic, gastric stimulant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory,
Rhinacanthus nasutus (L.) Kurz. 545
antiseptic. Used for indigestion, diarrhoea, dysentery and disorders of liver and gallbladder.
Key application ► In constipation. Contraindicated in acute intestinal inflammation and obstruction. (German Commission E, ESCOP, The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, WHO.)
Rhubarb contains 1,8-dihydroxy-anthracene derivatives. The laxative effect of the herb is primarily due to its influence on the motility of the colon, inhibiting stationary and stimulating propulsive contractions. Stimulation of the chloride secretion increases the water and electrolyte content of stool. (German Commission E.)
The plant extract of R. officinale is found to be strong and effective scavenger of oxygen radicals in xan-thine/xanthine oxidase and other systems in vitro.
Rheum rhaponticum, known as Rha-pontic or English rhubarb, is extensively cultivated all over Europe and America; also cultivated to a small extent in India in the Khasi Hills, the Nilgiris and West Bengal.
Rhubarbs contain anthraquinones but English rhubarb contains only chrysophanic acid and some of its gly-cosides. Stilbene glycosides, present in other types, are also found in English rhubarb. The roots contain rhapontin. (1.42%), reported to restore oestrus cycle in castrated female rats.
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